The inaugural Magners League Awards ceremony took place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Monday evening, and there were two Irish winners – Tommy Bowe and Michael Bradley.
Magners League Players’ Player Of The Season – Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
Tommy Bowe has scooped an historic hat-trick of awards – the Ospreys dynamic winger was named as the winner of the Magners Players’ Player award at the inaugural Magners League Awards ceremony on Monday.
It is the third honour bestowed on the Irish star by his peers, following the professional players of both Ireland and Wales also naming the 26-year-old as their outstanding player of the 2009/10 season.
Commenting on his clean sweep of individual honours, Bowe said: “This is a great honour, especially as the votes have come from the other players in the Magners League.
“It was a great season for the Ospreys, culminating in us winning the grand final against Leinster in Dublin, and this award rounds off the season very nicely indeed.
“But this has to close the door on the 2009/10 season because the aim now is to go on and successfully defend our title. We know that is going to be a very hard thing to do – and that no team has been able to do that in the past.
“There is a ridiculous amount of young talent at the Ospreys and my first task is to try to break into the team before I can think about anything else.
“As well as Shane Williams and Nikki Walker, we’ve got Tom Prydie, Kristian Phillips, Eli Walker and Richard Fussell all challenging for the wing spots.”
Bowe faced tough opposition from the Cardiff Blues duo of Xavier Rush and Ceri Sweeney, the league’s top try scorer Tim Visser, of Edinburgh, and Dragons winger Aled Brew.
Magners League Young Player of the Season – Tim Visser (Edinburgh)
Edinburgh’s Tim Visser made it a wing double when he was presented with the Magners League Young Player of the Season award.
Visser, born in Zeewolde, Holland, and an England Schoolboy international, scored a sensational 10 tries in 17 Magners League games – including seven in his last six tournament outings and a Murrayfield hat-trick against eventual champions, the Ospreys.
The former Newcastle Falcons flyer finished at the head of the try-scoring charts to lift an award open to those players who were under 23, uncapped at the start of the season and who had played a minimum of 300 minutes in 2009/10.
The other four candidates were all forwards, with Leinster’s Ireland-capped prop Cian Healy being joined by the Scarlets’ Wales squad member Ken Owens and Glasgow Warriors’ Jon Welsh as front row candidates. New Edinburgh captain Roddy Grant was the other nominee.
Magners League Coach of the Season – Paul Turner (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Wales coach Warren Gatland presented Paul Turner with the Magners League Coach of the Season award.
Turner pipped Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) to the title for turning the Dragons into one of the most competitive sides in the league. They lost only twice at home and also beat all four play-off sides at Rodney Parade.
Celtic Rugby Chairman’s Award – Michael Bradley (Connacht)
Michael Bradley had 138 games as head coach of Connacht and after eight seasons in charge of the province, he has decided to move on. In that time he has made Galway one of the most difficult venues for any team to visit and has made Connacht a highly competitive side.
They have claimed the scalps of Leinster and Munster at the Sportsground in recent seasons, while he has also groomed players like skipper John Muldoon and hooker Sean Cronin for Irish honours.
Magners League Try of the Season – Ken Owens (Scarlets)
Scarlets hooker Ken Owens managed what even star wingers Tommy Bowe and Tim Visser failed to do – collect the Magners League Try of the Season award.
The all-action front row forward took the honour for his spectacular score against Leinster at the RDS in February, beating off efforts from Shane Horgan, James Hook, Jim Thompson and Aled Brew.
Owens stepped out of the shadow of Wales and Lions star Matthew Rees last season, featuring in all bar one of his side’s 18 Magners League ties.
Having made just 12 starts in his previous three seasons, the 23-year-old began 13 games last time out. His form earned him a first senior Wales call-up for the 2010 Six Nations.
Gilbert Golden Boot Award – Chris Paterson (Edinburgh)
Chris Paterson, one of the world game’s elite in winning a century of Test caps, is the 2009/10 season’s supreme marksman and the winner of the Gilbert Golden Boot award.
He had the remarkable success rate of 88.89% from his 45 kicks at goal on the way to scoring 115 points in just nine tournament appearances last season and hoisting his overall tournament tally to 640 points in 70 appearances.
Specsavers Fairplay Award – Cardiff Blues
The Cardiff Blues received a cheque for £10,000 for being the side with the best disciplinary record in the Magners League last season. This will be spent on Youth Development at the club.
Magners League Dream Team Captain – Ali Kellock (Glasgow Warriors)
Ali Kellock, who captained Glasgow Warriors into the play-offs, where they lost away to the Ospreys, started 12 of the 18 regular season matches and led his charges to 10 wins and a draw in those games.
He took over the captaincy of Scotland on their tour to Argentina this summer and helped the Scottish national side to win their first away series as they beat the Pumas in back-to-back Tests.
2009/10 Magners League Dream Team
Magners League champions, the Ospreys, supplied four players for the 2009/10 Magners League Dream Team, including individual award winner Tommy Bowe.
He was joined by team-mates James Hook, Adam Jones and Jerry Collins, with Brian O’Driscoll, Leo Cullen and Jamie Heaslip making the Dream Team line-up from beaten finalists Leinster.
Players from seven of the league’s teams – the Ospreys, Leinster, the Cardiff Blues, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors, Munster and the Scarlets – made the final 15.
15 – Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues)
14 – Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
12 – James Hook (Ospreys)
11 – Tim Visser (Edinburgh)
10 – Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)
9 – Tomas O’Leary (Munster)
1 – Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)
2 – Ken Owens (Scarlets)
3 – Adam Jones (Ospreys)
4 – Leo Cullen (Leinster)
5 – Ali Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) (capt)
6 – Jerry Collins (Ospreys)
7 – John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)